History in the Making

In case you did not already have the urge to spend your holidays in Kosovo, the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Trade and Industry launched a nice website. Better than "Discover Wild Beauty" or "The Mediterrenean as it once was", the slogan is "History in the Making"... Not that wrong, but usually tourists are just not very enthusiastic to witness history in the making. Other suggestion might be "Where status really matters" or "Travel to Kosovo: Standards and Status" or "When you want to leave your holidays from a different country you go to: Kosovo"


Zar je zločin citirati ludake?

Testifying for the defence of Milan Martić at ICTY, Smilja Avramov said .... actually, who cares what Smilja Avramov said?

Democratic values and procedures

Certainly no democratic party is ideal. Still, I am not quite sure what my distinguished colleague was thinking. Even if I am a little bit charmed by his relativisation of the instrumentality of epic poesy.

Musical interlude

I'm off today to Washington to attend a conference and distribute quarters to the unemployed Republicans thronging the sidewalks. In the meantime, enjoy Rambo Amadeus and Kal, "Dikh tu kava" (featuring the vocal of Dragan Ristić).


Clueless in the Balkans, fall 2006 edition

When I was an intern at the Open Society Institute in 1997-98, my boss, Arthur Helton, had me draft letters to Bob Gelbard, the Dayton czar of the Clinton administration. They often started, "Dear Ambassador Gelbard, Bosnia is at a crossroads." Today, Bosnia really is at a crossroads. The best indication for that is that even the EU has noticed.

Yesterday, EU defense ministers met to discuss troop reductions in peacekeeping missions (read: Congo and Bosnia, with customary good timing).
"A decision to reduce troop strength is under consideration," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told the meeting. "The situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina allows this."
Source: AP, Concern over Kosovo delays EU decision on cutting Bosnia force, International Herald Tribune, November 13, 2006

But then he went on to say that a decision should not be taken before next month, and actual withdrawal not begin before February.

If the situation in Bosnia "allows" troop reductions now, why wait till February? Because the UN has just postponed its imposition of a Kosovo status until after the Serbian elections, to be held at the end of January. Solana's people must have forgotten to brief the current EU presidency on these things, though:
Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, who chaired separate EU foreign ministers talks with Ahtisaari, said the U.N. envoy's decision to delay would not harm efforts to bring lasting stability to the Balkans.

"We are not afraid it will destabilize the situation," he told reporters.

In other, related news, Bosnia's High Representative Christian Schwarz-Schilling, a man who spent his entire period in office trying to undo as much as possible the legacy of robust international action in Bosnia, is now calling on his overseers in the "Peace Implementation Council" to think twice before confirming the decision, taken last June, to close down his office by June next year. (The PIC meets in February for that purpose; many observers thought it would just rubber stamp the closure without much debate.) The OHR is scared that its entire exit strategy of having an association deal with the EU signed soon is about to collapse since the Serb Republic is reneging on its part of and agreement on police reform. Next step: the EU will define down the "non-negotiable" principles of the reform (which had already been agreed last year) to make a "deal" possible. The first to suggest that option? None other than the High Representative, who -- with a straight face -- told a press conference last month that he had never heard of the idea that police regions should cross the entity boundaries except around Sarajevo.

Watch this space for more weaseling from the OHR and the EU.

Special fantastic thing for our friends in London

This comment came in, I think, to an earlier post about TF, though I don't know which one:
Turbo folk, in my opinion, has killed the real values of our region. One of those values is Sevdah music (in its original shape and form).

This is why I am putting my best efforts into resurrecting this and promoting it around London and the rest of the world as much as possible.

Let me know what you think of our project.

Check out the sites! The first has general information about the group, its schedule, its performances and goals. The second reports on their nastupi in and around London. Next time I am in the city of night and fog, I hope to catch them. Are they visible from Gazette Tower?

Thank you, Mirza!


On the universality of declarations

The European Court of Human Rights will have to decide whether European military forces are bound to respect the human rights of people in places where they are involved in international operations. The British government says it is not. At issue is a case by brought by the family of two boys, Gadaf and Bekir Behrami, one of whom was injured and another killed when they happened upon cluster bombs left by NATO forces.